1971 Shuhada

1971 Shuhada

PAF Heroes form a galaxy of dedicated men who have expanded their lives in the service of Pakistan Air Force, each leaving behind the best of himself, and adding yet another measure to the courage and honor poured into its foundations by those before him; that endless cavalcade of men who look back with swelling pride and say, ' I was in the Pakistan Air Force.'

Pilot Officer

Rashid Minhas - Nishan-i-Haider

On the morning of Friday, 20 August 71, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas, a pilot still under training, was in the front seat of jet a trainer, taxiing out for take off. An instructor pilot from the same unit forced his way into the rear cockpit, seized control of the aircraft and having taken off, headed the aircraft towards India. With just 40 miles of Pakistan territory remaining, Minhas had only one course open to him to prevent his aircraft from entering India. Without hesitation and living up to the highest traditions of the Pakistan Air Force, Rashid Minhas tried to regain control of his aircraft, but finding this to be impossible in the face of the superior skill and experience of his instructor, forced the aircraft to crash at a point 32 miles from the Indian border. In doing so, Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas deliberately made the supreme sacrifice for the honour of Pakistan and the service to which he belonged. For this act of heroism above and beyond the call of duty, the President of Pakistan awarded Nishan-i-Haider to Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas.

Wing Commander

Mervyn L Middlecoat - Sitara-i-Juraat

On the outbreak of war on 3 December 71, Wing Commander Mervyn L Middlecoat was on a training visit abroad. He returned to Pakistan immediately and joined operations with such keen interest that he inspired all the squadron pilots. The day after his arrival he was detailed on a strike mission to the heavily defended Jamnagar airfield. While returning after the successful mission he was engaged by 2 enemy Mig-21s. In the encounter his aircraft was hit by an enemy missile. He was heard to be ejecting in Indian territory and was officially declared missing in action. For his devotion to duty, determination and courage he was awarded a Bar to the Sitara-i-Juraat.

Muhammed Ahmed - Sitara-i-Juraat

On 4 December, 71 one of our combat air patrols over Dhaka was engaged by an enemy formation. With the arrival of more enemy aircraft the patrol was heavily out-numbered and the leader gave a call for help. Wing Commander Muhammad Ahmed was immediately airborne and his timely intervention enabled the patrol to return safely to base. In the encounter Wing Commander Ahmed's aircraft was hit by an enemy aircraft and he was heard to be ejecting in territory occupied by rebels. For his personal example, courage and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

Squadron Leader

Aslam Choudhry - Sitara-i-Juraat

Squadron Leader Aslam Choudhry flew a total of fifteen missions since the outbreak of war. As he had spent most of his service in training establishments, he had to start with a disadvantage in a fighter squadron. But he was a keen pilot and managed to polish up his fighter flying in a comparatively short time. He was always keen to fly operational missions. On 10 December 71, while flying in leading a section of two F-86s in Chamb Sector on a Close Air Support mission, his flight was engaged by six Hunters. Being heavily out-numbered, he was presumed to have been shot down by the enemy. He was officially declared missing in action. For his valour, courage, determination and devotion to duty, he was awarded Sitara-i-Juraat.

Ghulam Rabbani

Ishfaq Hameed - Sitara-i-Juraat

Squadron Leader Ishfaq Hameed was recalled from PIA for operational flying, with a B-57 Squadron. From the onset of the hostilities he displayed distinct qualities of patriotism and aggressiveness to achieve positive results. This was a source of inspiration to other aircrew. Unfortunately, he was unable to return from his second mission of the war on 5 December 71. Squadron Leader Ishfaq displayed exceptional determination and tenacity under adverse conditions that existed at his base from 4th morning of December till the night he went for his last mission. For his dedication, courage and display of excellent fighting spirit he was awarded Sitara-i-Juraat.

Khusro - Sitara-i-Juraat

Squadron Leader Khusro had retired from the PAF but was recalled for the war. In spite of many personal problems, he showed great keenness, courage, determination and fighting spirit. On 6 December 71, he volunteered for bombing mission to Jamnagar airfield regardless of the consequences. He failed to return from the mission and was officially declared missing in action. His fighting spirit, determination and devotion were an example to all aircrew of the unit. For his outstanding courage and devotion to duty, Squadron Leader Khusro was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

Muhammad Nasir Dar - Sitara-i-Basalat

Squadron Leader Muhammad Nasir Dar, a signals officer, achieved Shahadat as a result of a direct bomb hit on his place of work during war. He continued to work in spite of the heavy air raid and declined to take shelter. For his devotion to his work above and beyond the call of duty, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Basalat.

Peter Christie - Sitara-i-Juraat

Squadron Leader Peter Christie was on deputation to PIAC when recalled for war duties. He showed great keenness to fly, and in spite of overwhelming family responsibilities, he was ever willing to take on any mission at any odd hour of the day or night. He was completely devoted to the task in hand. His sense of humor under war conditions, his dedication to the cause of the country and his personal courage contributed immensely to the Squadron's morale. On 6th December 71, he was detailed as navigator for a bombing mission to Jamnagar. He failed to return from the mission and was officially declared missing in action. For his personal example and complete devotion to duty, he was awarded Sitara-i-Juraat.

Flight Lieutenant

A A M Saqlain

Afzal Jamal Siddiqui - Sitara-i-Basalat

Flight Lieutenant Afzal Jamal Siddiqui displayed outstanding keenness, enthusiasm and aggressiveness during the 1971 war right till the time he was shot down and killed by our own ground fire, while chasing an enemy SU-7 aircraft on 8 December 71. By then he had flown six operational missions. His cheerful, bold and selfless attitude contributed largely to the high morale of his fellow pilots and inspired them to fight the enemy with greater tenacity. For his spirited and aggressive approach towards operational commitments, his sustained display of courage and enthusiasm in the air and on the ground, he was awarded Sitara-i-Basalat.

Fazal Elahi - Sitara-i-Juraat

Flight Lieutenant Fazal Elahi was a young and energetic pilot. He flew the first two missions to Srinagar airfield and subsequent Close Air Support missions every day till 7th December 71. On 8th December, his aircraft was hit by ground fire in Chamb-Jaurian sector; the ground fire presumably hit a bomb fuse, causing the aircraft to explode. Flight Lieutenant Fazal always volunteered to fly irrespective of the danger of the mission. He displayed exemplary courage and determination at his young age in spite of limited experience. He was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

Ghulam Murtaza - Tamgha-i-Juraat

Flight Lieutenant Ghulam Murtaza was an able and experienced navigator. He was a very active member of the squadron and always showed great enthusiasm and determination. He flew two missions against the most heavily defended Indian airfields and showed great bravery and courage in execution of these missions in complete disregard of personal safety. On 5th December 71, he was detailed as navigator on a bombing mission to Amritsar airfield. He failed to return from the mission and was officially declared missing in action. For his courage, determination and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Tamgha-i-Juraat.

Imdad Hussain
Javed Iqbal - Tamgha-i-Juraat

Flight Lieutenant Javed Iqbal flew two missions against heavily defended Indian airfields. He displayed great courage, enthusiasm and determination. Although he was the junior most pilot in the squadron, he volunteered for these missions in complete disregard for personal safety. His devotion and dedication was a source of pride for all aircrew of his unit. On 5th December 71, he was detailed on a bombing mission to Amritsar airfield. He failed to return from the mission and was officially declared missing in action. For his outstanding courage, determination and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Tamgha-i-Juraat.
Nayyar Iqbal
Saeed Afzal Khan - Sitara-i-Juraat

On 4th December 71, Flight Lieutenant Saeed Afzal Khan was flying as No. 2 in a formation of two F-86 aircraft, when he engaged four Indian Hunters and immediately shot one down. Meanwhile another formation of four Hunters joined the aerial battle. in the subsequent combat, although facing great odds, he was not deterred from attacking them. he put up a gallant fight with complete disregard to his own safety. Due to his determination and flying skill, he prevented every one of them from attacking their target i.e. Dhaka airfield. While being heavily outnumbered by superior performance aircraft, he continued the fight but was later shot down by a Hunter. He bailed out safely but was captured by the rebels and has been missing since then. For his courage, determination and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.
Syed Safi Mustafa - Sitara-i-Juraat

Flight Lieutenant Syed Safi Mustafa was Flight Commander of No. 246 Squadron PAF. Towards the end of February 71, orders were issued for MOUs to regroup and take shelter with the nearest army garrison due to the insecure conditions created by civil agitation. Flight Lieutenant Safi Mustafa along with 37 airmen thereupon took refuge with the East Pakistan Rifles' Headquarters at Mymensingh. Throughout the period of civil strife and agitation, he continued to look after his men with great courage and dedication. On 16th March he came to Dhaka for a day where he was advised by friends and relatives not to go back to his unit because of the prevailing danger to non locals. He was, however, determined to return to his post and was in contact with the Base till 27th March. The evidence available indicates that in all probability, he was executed by the rebels on 17th April 1971. For his gallantry and dedication, Flight Lieutenant Syed Safi Mustafa was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

Abdul Samad Changazi - Sitara-i-Juraat

Flight Lieutenant Abdul Samad Changezi flew eleven missions on F-104 during the war. Despite his limited experience, he was very keen and aggressive. He was responsible for the destruction of an enemy radar station and damage to one of their aircraft. In the last mission, disregarding the danger to his life, he pursued his attack on an enemy aircraft till he was shot down by an enemy missile. For his act of valour and for sacrificing his life for the cause of the country, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

Syed Shahid Raza - Tamgha-i-Juraat

Flight lieutenant Syed Shahid Raza flew a total of eleven operational missions during the war. Throughout the period, the officer displayed an extremely high standard of professional skill, aggressiveness and determination. On 5th December 71, during an aerial engagement, Flight Lieutenant Raza was credited with one enemy Hunter aircraft shot down. On the evening of 17th December, while off duty, he requested to be detailed for a close support mission. His aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire during that mission, and he was heard to be ejecting in enemy territory. He was officially declared missing in action. For his courage, determination and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Tamgha-i-Juraat.

Muhammad Wasim Ansari - Tamgha-i-Basalat

Flight Lieutenant Muhammad Wasim Ansari, a signals officer, achieved Shahadat as a result of direct bomb hit on his place of work. This officer, inspired by a feeling of patriotism, carried on working under extremely dangerous conditions. This was above and beyond the call of duty. He was awarded the Tamgha-i-Basalat.

Zulfiqar Ahmed - Sitara-i-Juraat

Flight Lieutenant Zulfiqar Ahmed was employed as a navigator on a B-57 aircraft. Although he could not return from his second mission of the war, he displayed outstanding qualities of courage and keenness to undertake the most arduous missions from the very onset of operations. This was a source of inspiration to others since he was one of the youngest crew members in the bomber organization. On the first day of operations, when only experienced and mature aircrew were being selected for the first strikes, Zulfiqar insisted on being included. He was eventually detailed for a mission to Jodhpur which was very successful. For his determination, courage and tenacity, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Juraat.

Flying Officer

Nasim Nisar Ali Baig - Tamgha-i-Juraat

Flying Officer Nasim Nisar Ali Baig flew a total of eight successful operational missions during the 1971 war. During all those missions he displayed exemplary courage, dedication and professionalism in spite of his limited experience. On 13th December 71, he was ordered to get airborne from a forward base to intercept intruding enemy aircraft. Immediately after take off he was intercepted by three enemy fighters. Placed in a very vulnerable situation, Flying Officer Baig maneuvered his aircraft with determination and aggressiveness but was unable to gain an advantageous position because he was outnumbered during a critical stage of fight. He was subsequently shot down and fatally injured. For his valour, courage and undaunted spirit he was awarded the Tamgha-i-Juraat.

Corporal Technician

Syed Shaukat Ali - Tamgha-i-Juraat

Corporal Technician Syed Shaukat Ali while a POW in India, conducted himself in an upright and fearless manner. He twice tried to escape from the POW camp. In the second attempt he received serious bullet injuries; even then he pounced upon the armed guard in a bid to prevent him from firing at his colleague Corporal Technician Nawab. For his outstanding and excellent performance, he was awarded the Tamgha-i-Juraat.

Junior Technician

Mohammed Latif - Tamgha-i-Juraat

During an enemy air raid, realizing that the pilots strapped in air defence alert aircraft were exposed to grave danger, Junior Technician Mohammed Latif disregarded his personal safety, ran up to each aircraft and helped the pilots to unstrap and take cover. In this process he was fatally wounded by enemy fire and died soon after. For his outstanding courage and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Tamgha-i-Juraat.

Leading Aircraft Men

Mohammed Azam Nasir - Tamgha-i-Juraat

During an enemy raid at PAF Chander, instead of taking shelter, Leading Aircraftman Mohammed Azam Nasir proudly faced the Indian bomber with G-3 rifle and kept on firing at the attacking aircraft. A bomb fell about six yards from his trench and buried him alongwith other occupants of the trench. All except he were dug out alive. For his outstanding courage and devotion to duty, he was awarded the Tamgha-i-Juraat.